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Inheritance, Esprit de Corps, Collaboration

F.Y. Teng | Nov. 4, 2010
Ciscos MD for Singapore and Brunei Irving Tan on the value of job experience, team building and tapping mature markets.

What kind of projections for growth do you have there?
We dont really split up Brunei, but as a whole I think we are looking to drive 20 to 30 percent growth for Singapore and Brunei.

How significant are these geographies to Cisco globally?
I would say very significant. If I use Singapore as an examplethe mere fact that we have our Asia Pacific headquarters in Singapore is very telling. Weve made investments in an innovation centre in Singapore in collaboration with the IDA [Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore], and it is one of the few innovation centres we have invested in across the world. My managements expectations for me is that Singapore not only deliver the financial commitment that I have to deliver, but also be a catalyst for one of the new business models driving the innovative services that Cisco wants to offer its customers. We should expect to trial and pilot the new and innovative in Singapore, and then scale and replicate them across the region. Thats the added pressure or demand that I have. Its not just about continuing to do what were doingalthough we are doing fairly well at it but really taking it to the next level. Also, in many countries, the value is definitely there because whether you go to Malaysia, Indonesia or Thailand, many of them look to Singapore and see where it is and say, Thats where Im going next, thats the next step. So we are always used as a benchmark. I host a lot of government officials…from Thailand, Malaysia…I had the CEO of the IDA-equivalent in Brunei as a guest over here and we were sharing what were doing. He was very keen to see how we could replicate the collaboration that we have worked with the IDA in Singapore for them in Brunei.

Final question: What exactly should your customers be looking at right now?
I think it is very important to understand key trends and where they are going. The market is just moving so fast and business leaders to continuously have an environmental scan of whats going on. I try to do it as much as I can too. The danger is that you can get too insular, even as the pace of the market is moving. A good example is, many years ago there was Second Life. That was the rage three to four years ago. Everybody had some property in Second Life. But today its gone and that interaction has moved to Facebook and Twitter. Now, the challenge is what bets you should make. How do you move in line with the pace of the change? Also: how do you embrace the change as opposed to fighting the change? So if I were in government: how do I get my organisation some of these new social networking technologies to reach out to the population? How do enterprises use YouTube videos or instant messaging or Facebook to also drive effective communication and collaboration within the enterprise going forward? Those are the very important trends that we need to continually be looking out a lot more for. The challenge is really in how we embrace such trends because usually there are a lot of issues about security. Employees are going to spend all their time chatting with each other as opposed to doing productive workissues like that, so we need to put whatevers being deployed in the right context. And Cisco is trying to help companies along that way with our latest set of unified communication solutions. We are also trying to take some of these social networking tools and putting them into the enterprise context with the right sort of policy, governance and security frameworks to enable them. We think that will take off, but we ourselves constantly keep an eye on these new trends.


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